Kenyan startup Selina Wamucii is struggling to meet demand for its mobile-driven B2B sourcing platform for fresh produce from smallholder farmers.
Selina Wamucii sources and grades fresh produce from farmers, then sells to vendors and distributors, both locally and globally.
The farmers connect to Selina Wamucii via USSD on their mobile phone. Their information is collected, including produce type, farm location, availability dates and projected volumes during the growth period, and then entered into the company’s mapping system.
“The mapping helps in gathering useful data that forms the basis of an efficient sourcing chain whose benefits are passed to the farmer and the buyers,” Gaita Kariuki, co-founder of Selina Wamucii, told Disrupt Africa.
Founded in June 2015, Selina Wamucii looks to solve problems for both farmers and buyers.
“On the buyer side, there was a need for quality produce at better prices, and on the supplier side a need for a truly farmer-centric company that treated the farmers fairly, especially when it comes to payments,” Kariuki said.
“We were the first company to pay our farmers better prices than what was being offered by anyone else, and on the same day their produce is picked and delivered.”
The self-funded startup has seen impressive uptake, with Kariuki saying demand for its smallholder-sourced produce is far above its capacity to meet.
“At the moment, we are only able to service 2.4 per cent of total orders requested,” he said. Selina Wamucii has over 3,200 small-scale farmers registered on its platform.
It primarily serves the export market.
“Our produce in on shelves in most of the Middle East countries, a number of European countries, and also a few Asian countries,” Kariuki said. “We have also ventured into the local market in Nairobi and our clients just love the export quality. On the sourcing side, Ethiopia is next on our rollout plan, and we have already done a soft launch there that will be followed by Ivory Coast.”